Guru Purnima is the festival ascribed to Guru, the teachers who play a major role in shaping anyone’s life. The word Guru means “remover of ignorance”.
In Hinduism, the concept of Guru Parampara, i.e lineage of teachers is equally important as the lineage of the ancestors. The identity of a normal person is known as either son of / daughter of a father. However, in Guru Parampara, each teacher is recognized as the disciple of his Guru.
Guru Purnima is celebrated on the Pournami Tithi of Ashada month. For the Year 2021, it occurs on Friday, 23rd July 2021 and on Saturday, 24th July 2021. The exact duration of the Pournami Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars. This is one of the major Chathur Masya festivals.
Guru Purnima signifies revering and respecting teachers. On this day, specifically, four Gurus are remembered and respected.
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Lord Sri Shiva is considered as the Adi Guru, the primary teacher of the World. It is believed that He taught the Yogic attributes and Yogic principles to the Saptha Rishis on this day. This day is also considered as the day of birth Sage Sri Ved Vyas who had composed Srimadh Maha Bharatham and other Scriptures.
Sri Adi Yogi
Lord Sri Shiva is the prime and foremost Guru in the universe. He is worshipped as Sri Dakshina Murthy.
He is also the primary teacher of Yoga.
As per belief, around 15000 or so years back, a monk appeared at the Himalayas. He was looking so powerful and serene.
He did not pay attention to anyone. But people were pulled to His charisma. However, He was silent. There was no movement in Him except for the tears which rolled down from His eyes. The people lost interest and moved away except for seven men who stayed back.
When he saw the seven men, they asked Him to tell them as to what He was going through. He just dismissed them. They insisted on staying in the place. After sometime, the monk just taught them a step and closed His eyes again.
The seven men were determined to learn from Him fully. So, they waited there itself for days, months and years which summed upto 84 years.
After the eighty-four years, the monk had opened His eyes on the first Pournami after the dawn of Dakshinayana. The monk was the manifestation of Lord Shiva. He was considered and called as Sri Adi Yogi.
Sri Adi Yogi was pleased with the perseverance of His seven devotees. He sat facing South and had taught them the Yogic principles from the Ashada Pournami day. Hence it is called Guru Purnima.
The seven disciples were later known as Saptha Rishis namely, Sage Vasishta, Sage Kashyapa, Sage Atri, Sage Jamadagni, Sage Gowthama, Sage Vishvamithra and Sage Bharadwaj.
Sri Ved Vyas
Sri Ved Vyas was the author of Srimadh Maha Bharatham. He had also done the consolidation of the Vedas and Ashta Dasha Puran.
Once there was a time when dharma, the principled way of life was lower. People were leading their lives as per their wish. There was neither discipline nor any code.
The Vedas and the Vedic principles were ignored. None paid attention to them. There was neither rule nor regulation nor devotion nor humanitarian service. There was chaos everywhere.
Lord Maha Vishnu and Sri Brahma got worried about the situation. They went to Lord Shiva. Shiva told Vishnu “You yourself take amsavathar and re-arrange the vedas. I have taught agama and purana to Nandikeswara. Nandi in turn had taught them to Sanakas. You learn all these from Sanakas. You take it upon yourself to teach these things to the world”. Sri Vishnu had accepted.
Sage Parasara once was crossing ganga river on a boat. The boatman’s daughter named Machagandi was also in the boat. The Sage had prophesied that a good Muhurat time was approaching.
He had surmised that the time had come for a divine child to be born through him and that Machagandhi would be the mother. So, he asked the boatman for the hand of his daughter in marriage.
Sage Parasara had married Machagandhi. She was renamed as Parimalagandhi and Sathyavathi. In due course, the couple were blessed with a male child.
Birth of Vyas
The Child Vyas was born on Ashada Purnima day. As He was the incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu, the Child was born with Danda and Kamandal.
The Child Vyas grew up and had learnt from His father. The Child sought the permission of His parents to do penance. They happily granted the same as they knew that He was the God Himself.
The Boy went to Vadhari forest and did penance on Lord Brahma. The Boy was then called as Sri Vadharayana.
Sri Vadharayana had started compiling Vedas and He had serialized them. He had also written the explanation for the Vedas. He had divided the Vedas into four such as Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. From then on, He is being called as Sri Ved Vyas.
He had engaged four disciples named Paila, Vysampayana, Jaimini and Sumanthu. He had then consolidated the eighteen puranas summarily called as Ashta Dasha Puranas.
As directed by Sri Brahma, Ved Vyas had asked Lord Shiva to help him write down the Maha Bharatha. Lord Shiva had directed Lord Ganesha to write down the Epic.
Ved Vyas and Sri Ganesh had decided that Ved Vyas would recite the Bharatha and that Sri Ganesh would understand the meaning and write it down.
As the Epic was vast and huge, Sri Vinayak had decided to use His own Dhantha as the pen. So, He had broken one of His tusks and used it as pen to pen down Maha Bharatha. Sri Ganesha is called as Eka Dhantha for this reason.
It is believed that Sri Gowtham Buddha had taught the Dharma Chakra Pravarthana Suthra to His disciples on the Ashada Pournami day.
Hence the day is significantly considered as Guru Purnima day by Buddhism followers.
It is believed that only on Ashada Pournami day, Sri Mahavir had made Sri Indrabhuti Gautam as His first disciple.
Hence the day is significantly considered as Guru Purnima day by Jainism followers.
Sri Vyasa Puja is done at temples. Students visit their teachers and get their blessings. Some even observe fast till they meet and greet their teachers.
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः
गुरु साक्षात् परब्रह्मा तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः
gururbrahmaa gururviShNu gururdhevo maheshvarah
guru saakShaath parabrahmaa thasmai shreegurave namah